Anne- Marie Perry: Our Ventoux Adventure! Day 1- 28.09.2018

Well, today saw the end of our Everest Challenge. I am sitting on the tiniest terrace in the cutest AirBnB writing up my blog. 

Simon Thomas, Jason Bell, Matthew Salmon, and I arrived at Marseilles on Thursday 27th Sept 2018, picked up our hire car and set off on our 4-day adventure.  I am with 3 grown men whose excitement, at seeing the red light of the Ventoux transmission mast, was palpable as we drove into Bedoin at 10pm that night - there were suddenly three kids in the car on an adventure.

As we arrive the BnB was all we could ask for-La Maisonette du Ventoux-, a ground floor exclusively set aside as a bike park – a cyclists heaven, up a rustic winding staircase to two bedrooms overlooking a typical French courtyard, then up to a further floor of a kitchen, lounge, dining room and terrace.

By 11.00pm when the world is thinking of bed, the chaps were thinking of food – where were we going to find somewhere open at this stage, the town looked very sleepy on arrival.  Anyway, not to be deterred we set off and found a burger joint that got us all fed and watered ready for the next day.

We hired bikes as the journey trying to get our own bikes over to France seemed-as well as being a logistical nightmare -very expensive – we found it cheaper to fly, hire a car and hire bikes.  Bikes arrived at 7.30am, luckily Matthew was an early riser and saw the bikes in.  Three road bikes and a trail bike.  We had decided on the Friday we would do a short warm up ride to get used to the bikes and check we were happy with everything. 

So the group consists of a serious sportsman Simon-cyclist and runner, two really strong cyclists, Matthew and Jason, and myself – a cyclist under duress (I can’t seem to say no!)  Having pored over the map and finding a nice easy family route, a moderate circuit taking in the vineyards and lavender fields – Simon, mentions a gorge he thought worth visiting.  As Jason and Matthew agreed, I went along with the majority.  Le Gorge de la Nesque.  Well the clue is in the title – Gorge!!.  We set off, to find the trail bike had a flat tyre, so found a garage owned by a grumpy French man to blow up the tyre.  All seemed well, with fresh legs and some serious training behind us we set off.  Bikes seemed great, and we reached Villes sur Auzon, where we stopped for coffee and had to change the now-completely-flat tyre on the trail bike.  

It was now Midday – a short 2hr ride would have been a sensible warm up ride as prep for the big mountainous trek the next day. But no, off we go to the Gorge de la Nesque.  Well breath-taking does not do it justice.  The scenery was beyond spectacular and the French have a curious knack, I discovered, of making uphill look like down!!  The summit of the gorge had a viewing platform where we met a curious Texan (yes Texan, of the American variety) who was keen to have a chat. We descended into Monieux for a sandwich and drink.  This was about three and a half hours after we started out – lunch was no longer being served.  We now had to get back which involved another 938m ascent, before descending into Bedoin.  After a 7 and a half hour day of cycling, we got back to supper and our beds well warmed up for our big day up Ventoux.


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